ARMM Peace Summit begins

COTABATO CITY  (MindaNews/20 September) –  The two-day peace summit that begins Monday afternoon, is aimed “at helping come up with a paradigm for peace and development thrusts that may serve as reference of the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in their imminent resumption of peace talks,” a press statement from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said.

But the MILF will not send representatives to the summit. ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo said the MILF leadership “has declined to join the gathering in view of a mechanism it has reportedly agreed with the state in the would-be renewed peace talks.” Sinarimbo did not elaborate.

MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews the MILF “has no role in that (peace summit).

“It (peace summit) is purely inspired by the state. However, the MILF recognizes the good intention of the movers,” Iqbal said.

But Iqbal also asked, “what is left undiscussed in the GRP-MILF peace process? All substantive and related issues are discussed in the GRP-MILF peace track.”

“The political solution contained in the comprehensive compact. This is the one left for discussion,” Iqbal said.

“The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which is pushing for the full implementation of the provisions of its 1996 final peace accord with the government, has confirmed participation in the summit, while the MILF leadership has declined to join the gathering in view of a mechanism it has reportedly agreed with the state in the would-be renewed peace talks,” the Information Office quoted ARMM executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo as saying.

The Malaysian Ambasador to the Philippines, Dato’ Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad, will deliver the keynote address Monday night on the role of his government as the third party facilitator in the peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF.

Also expected are diplomats from Indonesia and other countries belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

The five-member province of the ARMM – Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan (except Isabela City), Sulu and Tawi-tawi and the city of Marawi) – are sending representatives, including Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu.

At least 23 mayors from the ARMM will be attending the summit that will tackle “pertinent issues raised during a series of consultations held in July and August in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.”

The ARMM press release quoted Abdullah Cusain, ARMM deputy executive secretary, as saying at least 11 major issues dealing with concerns for the enhancement of autonomy and proactive peace efforts in Muslim Mindanao have been collated for deliberation at the summit.
The 11 issues were not listed in the press statement.

Guests and participants well be welcomed by acting ARMM Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong, who in his recent statements has urged his constituents to “think, talk and work for peace” in order to shape a peaceful climate in the region.

The MNLF delegation will be represented by the MNLF under  Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema.

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles will talk on the government peace and development agenda for Mindanao on Tuesday morning after Sinarimbo presents the result of the ARMM Peace Summit Multi-Stakeholders Consultations.

To respond to Deles’ talk are  Bai Sandra A. Sema, Representative, 1st District, Maguindanao; Datu Ronnie Q. Sinsuat, Speaker, RLA (Regional Legislatve Assembly), ARMM ; M/Gen. Datuk Baharom bin Hamzah, Head of Mission, International Monitoring Team;  Atty. Randolph C. Parcasio, Head, MNLF Legal Panel, Tripartite Review; and Guiamel M. Alim,  chair of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society. (MindaNews)